Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Fake Mustache

Fake Mustache: or, How Jodie O'Rodeo and her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Guy) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind
By Tom Angleberger
Expected publication April 1, 2012 by Amulet Books

Okay, longest subtitle in the history of the world, so do I really need to provide a summary? Lenny Flem, Jr. is surprised one day when his best friend, Casper, insists on buying the Heidelberg Handlebar #7, the greatest fake mustache ever invented. Soon, Casper starts acting weird and before he can get anyone on his side, Lenny is watching as a handlebar-mustachioed "man about town" begins robbing banks and even plans to run for President! Can Lenny, with the help of tween cowgirl queen Jodie O'Rodeo, show everyone who that "man about town" really is?

I read and enjoyed Angleberger's first novel and then I was harangued into being a life-size Origami Yoda at Midwinter during a session with his publisher (there's probably a Youtube clip of it somewhere). Angleberger was a great author to meet - he has lots of personality and he's very down-to-earth and, most importantly, he really seems to be having fun with what he does. So, he told us about his forthcoming book (the one this review is eventually going to be about) and I thought it sounded brilliant. I happily stopped by the Abrams booth (Amulet is an imprint) and snagged an ARC the first chance I got. I don't know what more I can say about this novel that I didn't say about his first - it's absolutely perfect for its intended audience. The chapters are short, the plot is ridiculously funny, it's fast-paced and action-packed and the characters are interesting. I think this book will make a great discussion book - in the classroom or among friends. There are so many things to talk about! Angleberger has given us a very clever satire - kids won't even realize it's making such a statement while they're reading. The book is funny - so much of what happens is completely absurd? But it also makes for a number of great opportunities to get kids asking what they would do, even if the situation is very unlikely to ever occur to them. I think this is going to be a huge hit - funny books are the one thing we can't seem to keep on our shelves (for kids anyway; teens might be another matter). I think kids will really like the characters, too - Lenny is just your average kid, very easy for them to relate to. And girls who've grown up watching Hannah Montana will get a kick out of Jodie O'Rodeo, while boys will see that she's not your typical girly-girl starlet. This book is delightfully entertaining, but with lots of thought-provoking moments.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

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